After the only girl he ever loved told him that he would never be enough, Rowdy St. James knocked the Texas dust off his boots and set out to live up to his nickname. A good ol' boy looking for good times and good friends, Rowdy refuses to take anything too seriously, especially when it comes to the opposite sex. Burned by love once, he isn't going to let himself trust a woman again. But that's before his new coworker arrives, a ghost from the past who's suddenly making him question every lesson he's ever learned. Salem Cruz grew up in a house with too many rules and too little fun - a world of unhappiness she couldn't wait to forget. But one nice thing from childhood has stayed with her: the memory of the sweet, blue-eyed boy next door who'd been head over heels in love with her little sister. Now fate and an old friend have brought her and Rowdy together, and Salem is determined to show him that once upon a time he picked the wrong sister. A mission that is working perfectly - until the one person that ties them together appears, threatening to tear them apart for good.
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OMG! Jay Crownover really hit the ball out of the proverbial ballpark! This installment was excellent! To date, it's my favorite Marked Man couple. Rowdy St. Claire's sweet southern, yet quiet charm was always appealing to me, and I'm so glad we got to explore his story--And, what a story it was!
Initially, I was worried that Crownover was going to exploit and try to remediate a taboo triangle between Rowdy and the two Cruz sisters, Poppy and her older sister Salem. I mean, Rowdy's claimed Poppy was "the one" who rejected him and broke his heart. Yet, Salem was the friend, of his heart, who left him behind when she fled her hometown, in an attempt to distance herself from her father's tyrannical rule over her. Immediately, there are questions that came up for me, such as, "why did Salem come to Colorado in pursuit of Rowdy if he had a previous history with her younger sister?" "What was the extent of Rowdy's involvement with Poppy and Salem, alike?" etc. Well, just know that those questions are applicable and they get answered in the best way possible, and that's just part of this fabulous ride with Rowdy and his exotic Latina-betty page, Salem.
Crownover delivers on all levels! The backstory between the leads is compelling and greatly moving. When Rowdy and Salem finally give themselves to each other, it's powerful and emotionally grounded. These two are perfect for each other. And, the love scenes are sensational with tat on tat-covered bodies with interesting, eh-hem…intimate hardware. OMG, yes!!--Sensational for sure!!!
One thing that I loved was the beautiful theme of family that the Marked Men and their women formed. I loved seeing the new "family members" who integrated into this loving group of people. This book shouldn't be read out of sequence because you need to fall in love and become vested in the previous couples, as they are just as pertinent and the current couple. I also thought it was so moving how Rowdy talked about "good luck" and "good fortune" in what seemed like a fluid, mythical quality. So, I loved it when this theme of fate finally ended up delivering a beautiful story to Rowdy, as he so deserved his HEA with Salem.
This is my favorite kind of story, one in which the leads don't engage in "STUPID." During times of conflict they take time to process their feelings, but are always invested in the potent connection to one another. And, I loved how Rowdy and Salem just clicked together….Dam, they were so good together!! Salem drove Rowdy nuts with her blood-red lips, voluptuous curves, ebony hair (with a red streak), and beautifully-marked skin. Rowdy, was just wonderful himself, with his charm, golden looks, broad hard-body, with his own unique body art! The style and individuality was off the charts! I loved every minute of their heart-felt story!---Can't wait to continue with the rest of the series, and the budding romances!!!
Narrators: Alexandra Marcuse was perfect! She presented with an authentic, Latina voice. And, well, Cody Hammersmith….when I heard his voice as he narrated Rowdy's POV, I just about dropped my iPhone (which I was using to listen to this audiobook) because his voice was smooth, masculine, and swoon-worthy perfection! WOW! Excellent audiobook!
AMAZING JOB JAY CROWNOVER!!!--MORE MARKED MEN AND THEIR LUSCIOUS LADIES PLEASE!!!
I can't ever see a time when I won't want to automatically download this well written series because Jay Crownover always delivers a story with a plot that's addictive, interesting, romantic, sexy and they're full of angst, heartache and they always have a multi-layered drama going on. They're also overflowing with likeable characters who have side stories of their own and together they create the tight, loving family dynamics of the Marked Men series.
I've loved them all but I especially love this one with its building romance and the slow realisation that Rowdy eventually has regarding his true feelings towards Salem and his vulnerability that he doesn't want to get hurt again. Also Salem's determination to fight for what she wants despite Rowdy's initial rejection of her and her insecurities she manages to get her HEA with her first love and her last love. (And what is there to say about Rowdy's piercings except maybe outch.... or perhaps yummy!!).
The narration of these books are always perfect and the narrators yet again turn a great book into an awesome listen.
Worth a credit? Oh YEAH, and hopefully Jay Crownover will continue to entertain us with all the guys from the Marked Men series with many many more books.